Yvonne's Reviews > Wicked Saints

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
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bookshelves: did-not-finish

DNF page 103.

I gave this book over 100 pages to give me a reason to read the whole thing and it didn't manage to do that, and if the author can't be bothered to give me a reason to keep reading, then I can't be bothered to read it.

Nothing is explained very well, nor is it attempted to be explained. Particularly noticeable is the underdeveloped religion. The people of Kalyazi view the people of Tranavia as heretics, but it’s never really explained how pervasive the religion is in Kalyazi. Is this country a theocracy? Perhaps, but even then the view of Tranavians as ‘heretics’ severely lacks the nuance that is warranted. The fact that the main character doesn't need to do anything special or ritualistic in order to communicate with the gods just had me thinking that the author didn't spend the time to actually develop the religion beyond 'ask the god, magic happens, the end.' There are a lot of gods, and it's hard to keep their names straight, probably because the author explained nothing about them beyond being the 'god of silence' or the 'god of truth' or whatever. Also unexplained is how Nadya was chosen to be the first cleric (clerics are the only ones who can directly communicate with the gods) in 30 years or, more importantly, why she was chosen. I don't need all these answers right away, but nothing about it is explained at all, so I have no reason to really care about it. As it stands I was just asking questions and instead of answering them, this book threw more things at me for me to question.

Things kept happening but there's no motivations for any of it that I can see. I have no reason to care, nor do I know which side I should be rooting or want to root for. I gotta say, the side that keeps getting referred to as 'heretics' made themselves a lot more appealing to me just for that reason, when I'm pretty sure we're supposed to be on the side of the pagan zealots? (New drinking game: Take a drink every time this book uses the word 'heretic'.) Also I have no reason to actually dislike any of those characters other than that they're 'heretics' who bypass the gods to do magic. I guess the author'd have to actually develop them beyond face value to give me a reason to dislike them, which is expecting too much clearly.

Action and dialogue is pretty much all you're given, with the occasional random Slavic term thrown into the lacking narrative to remind you that this setting is Eastern European. Do we really need an italicized word every other paragraph with a following definition just to know the setting? It doesn't add anything to the story and it didn't read as natural at all, rather than showing us this setting through the narrative we just keep getting told random, unnecessary, irrelevant things to remind us. On the same page two different mythical beings get named- you don't see them or evidence of them, by the way, it's just mentioned that they and a host of other things exist in this setting- just to- I don't know- prove to us how much the author knows about Slavic mythology? Okay, I'll admit that I'm aware that I'm being harsh here. I'm sure that wasn't the intention, but it is, completely honestly, how it came off as I was reading it.

There's action, there's a lot of blood, there's torture, there's more blood, there's self-harm, and there's more blood, and did I mention.... there's blood! None of these things bother me, there's very few things that I'd call 'squicks' and 0 things I'd call triggers for myself, but they were gratuitous and over the top and came off more as a parody of the edgelord emo aesthetic than anything else. I half expected this book to call me a prep as an insult. I bet it shopped at Hot Topic circa 2009. That said, it took itself way too seriously to be a parody. In fact this book is so self-serious that I, as a reader, could not take it seriously.

This book should definitely come with a self-harm trigger warning. Among others. I wasn't expecting it going in and- as I said- it just all seemed gratuitous, and I know for a fact that plenty of people would be bothered by this. It's one thing when it's adding something important to the story, when there's a narrative reason for it, and even then it probably should have a trigger warning. But just to assert your edginess? Come on.

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Reading Progress

April 1, 2019 – Shelved
April 1, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
September 1, 2019 – Started Reading
September 1, 2019 –
page 15
3.9% "just finished chapter 1 and already seeing why people were disappointed with this"
September 1, 2019 –
page 57
14.81% "this is trying way too hard to be edgy but ill give it at least til page 100"
Finished Reading
September 2, 2019 –
page 93
24.16% "wow. this is some very self-serious edgelord business lmfaoooo."
October 12, 2019 – Shelved as: did-not-finish

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